A strong first quarter has steered the Deni Rams to their third Murray Football League victory for the season in Saturday’s round 10 clash.
Leading from start to finish, the Rams defied their lower ladder position and shut down the Blues in a 27-point win at the Tongala Recreation Reserve.
Signs were good early for Deni, with four first quarter goals helping them to a 25-point quarter-time advantage to take clear control of the game.
The Blues responded well in the second term and found three goals to start making the game more of a contest, the margin cut to 15 points by half-time as the Rams wasted some opportunities in front of goal.
But the visitors again kept the home side to a goalless term and kicked four of their own to stretch the lead to 37 points by the final break.
Tongala outscored the Rams in the final term, four goals to two, but it was too late.
After weeks of struggling to find a target up forward, Jayden Pitts kicked five goals and Ben Nisbet three as the pair bagged eight of Deni’s 11 goals for the game.
Liam Pitts and John Anstee were the Rams’ best players in their first win in seven games, dating back to a round three win against Rumbalara.
For Tongala, Jack Monigatti, Tennyson Tinning and Bryce Denham were among the best players, with Joel Regan the only multiple goalkicker with two goals.
Final score, Deni Rams 11.11 (77) to Tongala 7.8 (50).
Rams assistant coach Todd Gallagher said his side were due for a win after a string of strong performances.
‘‘Our first quarter is what won us the game,’’ he said.
‘‘The start we had gave the younger blokes in the side a lot of confidence in themselves and they ran with it.
‘‘We’ve had patches in previous games that we’ve shown how good we can be so to finally play well for the majority of the match was pleasing.
‘‘We missed two shots at goal early in the second quarter and they took advantage, but we settled after half time and got the job done.
‘‘We knew they would respond so to be able to go back to basics and secure the win showed a good level of maturity from our young side.’’
In Gallagher’s mind it was the roles of Jayden Pitts and Oliver Draffin that were crucial in their win.
‘‘They both gave us the target up forward we have been lacking,’’ he said.
‘‘We haven’t had a forward kick multiple goals and Pittsy took that upon himself on Saturday.
‘‘Draff took some strong marks up forward and set up a fair few of our scoring opportunities as well.
‘‘The side as a whole worked well though and to perform like that with about five senior blokes missing shows there is plenty of upside from the team.’’
In the reserves it was Tongala who dominated the Rams, in a 112 point thumping.
The Blues were dominant with Alistair McCann kicking seven majors to sink the visiting Deni side.
Final score, Tongala 18.13 (121) to Deni Rams 1.3 (9).
Darren Smith was the Rams’ best with ruckman Aaron Patterson continuing his tremendous form in another strong outing.
Onballer Hugh Landale continues to shine for Deni while Chris Baines, Kyle Ives and Nick Glowrey all had commendable performances.